Exposé Online banner

Birch Book — Vol. II: Fortune & Folly
(Helmet Room Recordings no#, 2006, CD)

by Paul Hightower, Published 2008-01-01

Vol. II: Fortune & Folly Cover artBirch Book is in reality singer/songwriter/guitarist Michael B'eirth (also known as B'ee), a rising star in the acid-folk and psych-folk scene. Fortune & Folly breaks down into two halves, the first addressing the fickle nature of fate and the second investigating life's journeys, both topics forever confronting the wandering minstrel, which B'ee sees himself as in a modern context. There's a sense of authenticity to his songwriting and delivery that evokes giants of the elder days including Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen, Steeleye Span and Fairport Convention. The cover art and B'ee's presentation as the wandering troubadour take the listener further back to medieval times, which are subtly invoked in songs such as "Zephyr through Willows" and "The Carnival Is Empty." The instrumental "Diaspora" and the opener "Birch Sap" even dip into psychedelic realms via ghostly guitar drones and ethereal, wordless chants, which work their way on a smaller scale into other songs like "The Trip Goes On." Otherwise we're in pure acoustic folk territory and it's easy to picture B'ee huddled over an acoustic guitar, perched on a stool and leaning his face toward a microphone in a small bookstore somewhere in rural Vermont, spinning out his songs to a gathering of tea sipping folkies. With songs this "wooden" it's not surprising when his voice slips into a warm country twang, though otherwise his soft and gentle singing rarely rises above hushed recitation. This is an impressive and enjoyable cycle of songs, as long as one can stomach the occasional psych flavoring.

Filed under: New releases, Issue 35, 2006 releases

Related artist(s): Birch Book

More info
http://birch-book.com

Latest news

2018-11-16
The Seventeenth Dream of Dr Sardonicus Festival Tickets Now Available – Fruits de Mer Records and their merry crew of psychedelic explorers are getting set to present the next The Seventeenth Dream of Dr. Sardonicus Festival. The dates are set for August 2-4, 2019 at The Cellar Bar in Cardigan, Wales. They've also announced that the legendary Groundhogs will top the bill. » Read more

2018-11-02
Charles O'Meara (C.W. Vrtacek) RIP – A true musical original has left us. Charles O'Meara, who recorded under the name C.W. Vrtacek, was a wild-card musical talent, ranging from complex progressive rock to introspective modern compositions, with stops at many places inbetween. » Read more

2018-10-17
Eurock Documentary Seeks Funding – We've been fans and fellow travelers with Archie Patterson and his Eurock project on the journey to discover great music. After many years of promoting and trying to spread the word,a new phase is beginning: a documentary film. Things like this don't just happen, and money does not magically appear to make it happen, so it's up to the fans to get it done. » Read more

2018-09-29
Marty Balin RIP – One of the architects of the 60s psychedelic sound of San Francisco has died at the age of 76. Marty Balin was a singer, songwriter, and guitarist who was one of the founders of Jefferson Airplane. After the split of the original Airplane, Balin went on to form the highly successful Jefferson Starship. » Read more

2018-09-25
Help the Psychic Equalizer Avoid Extinction – Last year we reviewed the debut album by Psychic Equalizer, a musical project of Hugo Selles. He's now working on the ambitious follow-up to that release, and is seeking funding from listeners around the world. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Captain Beefheart and the Magic Band - Live at Bickershaw Festival - North West England 1972 – The front of the package proclaims "Joe Strummer's favourite concert." Well, I'm sure it was great to be there. The Captain and his crackshot '72 touring lineup (Rockette Morton,...  (2008) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues